Richard Lee Jennings

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Richard Jennings obit photoRichard Lee Jennings, 76, of Stanberry, Missouri, passed away at home on May 4th, 2024, after an evening spent in the company of his family.   

Richard was born on February 3, 1948, to Raymond and Dorothy (Swinford) Jennings in Maryville, MO.

He grew up as a farm boy in Alanthus Grove with a father who taught him to love the land and the value of hard work and a mother who showed him how to take care of and love his family, and most importantly, what to look for in a wife.

Richard attended the Jennings School, a small country school, through 7th grade. He transferred to Stanberry R-II at the beginning of 8th grade. Newspaper articles from his high school career say that he excelled as a gentleman, a fine student, and a football player with a bright future. As a senior, he made Bulldog history as he was selected to the All-State Class M and S football team. His number 61 jersey was retired from varsity competition later that year.

Richard graduated from Stanberry High School in 1966 and soon became engaged to his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Judy VanAusdall. Judy and Richard were united in marriage at the Stanberry First Christian Church on August 19, 1967.

He attended Northwest Missouri State and continued his football career. He graduated in 1970 with a degree in Animal Science. He remained an avid Bearcat fan for the rest of his life.

After graduation, Richard and Judy moved home to Stanberry where he began farming on the family farm alongside his father. A lifelong farmer, he raised hogs, cattle, corn, and soybeans. Together, they built a home in the Alanthus Grove area where his sons, Brent and Alec, would grow up exploring the land and farming alongside their dad. He later expanded his operation to a farm south of Stanberry, that he proudly called, “Flying J.”

He loved his community and was active on many boards and civic organizations including the Gentry County Democratic Committee, Wilson Township Board, Stanberry R-II School Board, Grand River Mutual Telephone Board, Stanberry Golf Club, and C&S Club. He served as both Stanberry City Manager and Mayor. He was always in favor of a quick and efficient board meeting and anything that made our community stronger, including the addition of the Stanberry R-2 Multipurpose Room, grass greens at the Stanberry Golf Club, and the swimming pool revitalization.

When he would take time away from the farm, he enjoyed running races, hunting trips, gardening, golfing, and traveling with his wife and friends.

As much as he loved watching his sons grow, his heart melted at the sight of his five grandchildren. He loved watching them run by, chatter, and play. A freezer full of ice cream and a pocket full of gum kept the grandkids close, even when they might be intimidated by his full cheeks and low voice.

To his family, he was fondly known as “The King.” He was looked up to by his siblings and mentored young farming friends through the ups and downs of the business. He loved taking care of everyone, and rarely a decision was made in the family without first consulting his wise counsel. He was the connector of the family and the reason we all came home.

He is survived by his wife, Judy, of 56 years, and his sons Brent (Megan) of Stanberry, and Alec (Rosetta) of St. Joseph. Grandchildren, Bryce, Charlotte, Olivia Jennings of Stanberry, and Arthur and Betty May Jennings of St. Joseph. Siblings, John Jennings of Mahomet, IL, Randy Jennings of Kansas City, Debbie (Fred) Wilkinson of Stanberry, and Tony (Kathy Kopach) Jennings of Stanberry, as well as numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.  

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, May 11, at 2:00 p.m. at the Flying J Farm/ “The Shed,” 4594 State Hwy E, Stanberry. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are requested to the Stanberry R-II Schools-Jennings Scholarship and can be made in care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 153 Stanberry, Missouri 64489

He lived a good life.

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